Skip to main content

Theological Anthropology

It might be argued that Berkouwer’s concentration on man’s relation to God is no more than the adoption of a particular religious theory of man rather than dealing with the real man.
Berkouwer insists that, from the standpoint of Christian faith, the situation is quite the reverse.
He insists that we are not dealing with “an abstract idea of man, but with actual man” (Man: The Image of God, p. 13, emphasis original).
From the standpoint of faith, it is the view of man in relation to God, and not the view of man as rational, free or personal, which deals with the actual man, who stands outlined in the searching light of the revelation of God” (p. 30).
Emphasizing “the indissoluble Biblical relation between knowledge of man and knowledge of self” , Berkouwer writes,”The Jew did not have a better understanding because he was able to judge the heathen. In the sphere of abstract morality this could possibly be said, but this is not Biblical morality - O man, who judgest others! … We can hardly say that the pharisee had an accurate ‘knowledge’ of man when he pointed to the sins (the real sins) of publicans and sinners. This judgment, which separated knowledge of man from self-knowledge, was as nothing in God’s eyes” (Man: The Image of God, p. 27, emphasis original).
True knowledge of ‘man’ involves growing in self-knowledge. Such knowledge of ourselves comes through knowledge of God. In making this point, Berkouwer cites favourably the words of Calvin: “man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God and come down from from  such contemplation to look into himself”  (Man: The Image of God, pp. 20-21, citing Calvin, Institutes, One, I, 2).

Popular posts from this blog

Lord, help us to love You ...

Lord, help us to love You – and help us to love one another. How can we say that we love You if we are not learning to love one another? How can we learn to love one another if we are not opening our hearts to the greatest love of all – Your love for us. Fill us with Your love. Change us by Your love. May our whole life shine with the glory of Your love.

Isaac and Jesus

Genesis 22:1-24
Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac - "You did not refuse to give Me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12). God did give His only Son for us - "God did not spare His only Son but handed Him over to death for us all" (Romans 8:32). While there may be comparisons made between the sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus, we must emphasize the great difference - the sacrifice of Isaac did not happen, the sacrifice of Jesus did. For Isaac, there was a way out. For Jesus, there was no other way. Abraham's faith was proved genuine without the sacrifice of Isaac. Our faith only becomes a reality through the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 2:20-21; Galatians 3:13-14).

God continues to carry forward His great purpose of salvation.

Genesis 16:1-16
We move from salvation and the assurance of salvation to Satan and the activity of Satan. Sarai came with temptation - "Why don't you sleep with my slave? Maybe I can build a family through her." Abram gave in to temptation -"Abram agreed with Sarai (Genesis 16:2). The evil influence of Sarai continued: "Sarai mistreated Hagar so much that she ran away" (Genesis 16:6). When we read of Satan and his activity, we must not imagine, for a moment, that Satan wins the victory over the Lord and His purpose of salvation. This becomes clear as the story develops. The Lord's purpose will not be thwarted by the activity of Satan. The "Almighty Lord" will be victorious. This chapter ends with the birth of Ishmael. It is not a high- point in the purpose of God. It is a sign that Satan is trying to overthrow God and His gracious purpose. This leads to a 13-year gap in God's speaking to Abraham (Genesis 16:16-17:1), but that…